Consumers will soon be able to pay a monthly fee to be charged for the privilege of being able to use their cellphone on an AT&T network in their homes, a move that is a direct response to the FCC’s net neutrality rules.
The move will allow consumers to use smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, gaming consoles, and streaming media devices on a network that is available across their home, but has limited ability to offer a nationwide mobile network.
The new system is expected to be rolled out to customers in 2019.
The FCC will allow carriers to charge customers for the use of mobile networks, but they will be able only for one year.
The FCC’s proposed net neutrality regulations would force mobile carriers to offer more data, but the agency said in its proposal that the new fee will not apply to a limited number of networks.
“We do not believe the current fees that are applied to mobile operators do a good job of ensuring that consumers receive the best data and services,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a statement.
The new system will be used by AT&, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon, according to a new report from The New York Times.
It’s unclear if AT& will follow suit, however, as the Federal Communications Commission did not respond to a request for comment on the FCC proposal.
“If you are on AT& in the US, you will be charged $100 a month for your phone, and if you are in the UK, you’ll be charged a whopping $2,000 for your cellphone, or $25,000 in other parts of Europe,” the Times reports.
“But the FCC wants to do away with this in 2019.”
The new fee, which is estimated to be about $150 per month for an unlimited plan, will be in addition to the existing fee that was imposed on the majority of subscribers of those carriers.
The fees were announced in a new proposal by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who also announced the introduction of the Universal Service Fund, a $1.6 billion annual subsidy for wireless providers to help them keep up with rising costs.